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Govt won't cut Penal Code Law's articles on insults to president, says law deputy minister

Tempo - June 29, 2022

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej said the government would not drop down the article regarding insults to the president in the draft bill of the penal code law (RKUHP) albeit sparking criticism.

"We will not delete it. We will not," said Edward who is familiarly known as Eddy at the Parliament Complex, Senayan on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

He denied that the article was produced to limit public criticism, accusing those with such a thought of having a misguided mind.

"That person has misguided thinking, who can't distinguish between criticism and insult. What is prohibited is insult, not criticism. So those who equate insult with criticism are misguided," said Eddy.

The Professor of the Faculty of Law at Gadjah Mada University explained that the Constitutional Court through its ruling No. 013-022/PUU-IV/2006 stated that Articles 134, 136, and 137 of the Criminal Code related to the insults to the president were contrary to the constitution and must be annulled.

Nevertheless, he went on, Article 207 of the Criminal Code regarding insults to general authorities was declared not to be contrary to the 1945 Constitution.

"So if I challenge those who object to [the articles] to file a petition to the Constitutional Court, they won't dare, because they will surely be rejected."

The Indonesian Center for Law and Policy Studies (PSHK) argued that changing the offense of insulting the president to a complaint against the draft bill of the penal code law does not eliminate the main problem in the anti-democracy article.

"On the contrary, it shows the impression that the government is looking for loopholes to deny the Constitutional Court's decision," said PSHK in a statement as quoted from its official website, Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1606687/govt-wont-cut-penal-code-laws-articles-on-insults-to-president-says-law-deputy-ministe